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Laws current as of August 15, 2022

Can I get a U visa based on domestic violence? Does it matter if the abuser is undocumented or if we are not married?

If you have been the victim of domestic violence, you may qualify for a U visa. You would need to show that the abuse you suffered was actually a crime, as defined by the criminal laws of the United States. For example, refusing to give you access to money or calling you mean names might not be a crime, but calling you multiple times and threatening to harm you might be. Every state has different laws, and there are also local and federal laws, so you should talk to a lawyer to find out whether your experience meets the criminal legal definition of domestic violence or of any other crime that could help you qualify for a U visa. Even if the crime in your case does not meet the criminal legal definition of domestic violence, it may still meet the definition for another U visa crime, and you could still qualify.

In addition, unlike VAWA self-petitions, the immigration status of the abuser does not matter for U visa purposes. Also, it does not matter if you are married to the abuser or not.1 If you were abused by an intimate partner, the only thing that matters is that you meet the qualifications for getting U visa status as explained throughout this section.

Note: Here you can see our series of vlogs (videos) in Spanish, with English subtitles, where we discuss what is a U visa, what are the requirements to get a U visa and what crimes qualify someone to get a U visa, among other related topics.

1 INA § 101(a)(15)(U)